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Poles come in a variety of materials and coatings where each material possesses its own properties, advantages and disadvantages. The materials poles are made of are brass, titanium – gold, stainless steel and chrome. The brass and titanium – gold poles are gold in colour and are used to enhance the grip between the pole and the dancer, these poles are normally used by more advanced dancers. The stainless steel poles aren’t as popular as the other types as they do not have the finest grip however, they are used by dancers who have sensitive skin. The chrome poles are silver in colour and are most popular amongst beginners. The finishes some dance poles may possess are silicone sleeves and powder coatings. Silicone sleeves can provide maximum grip, however, there are safety precautions dancers must take and consider before using silicone sleeves. These measures can include a great amount of clothing to be worn by the dancer and only static moves can be performed. Poles that are coated in powder can provide the best friction and maximum grip for dancers.
Pole dancing has gained popularity as a form of exercise with increased awareness of the benefits to general strength and fitness. These forms of exercise increases core and general body strength by using the body itself as resistance, while toning the body as a whole. A typical pole dance exercise regimen in class begins with strength training, dance-based moves, squats, push-ups, and sit-ups and gradually works its way up to the spins, climbs and inversions which are the métier of the exercise. Pole dancing is also generally reported by its schools to be empowering for women in terms of building self-confidence, in terms of which its erotic components are still the subject of some controversy. Some feminists argue that sexualized dancing of this kind cannot be seen as empowering because the choice to participate is not made in freedom from constraining power structures, especially given the performative aspect of many classes.
There are now poles available for use in clubs that provide visual effects. These poles are made with clear plastics and contain water, glitter, and special reflective materials which stand out when used in conjunction with strobe lighting, as well as lighting hidden in their base joists. However, these poles are not favorable to a dancer wanting to achieve better pole tricks, as they bend slightly and have a tendency to create a friction burn when slid down with any sort of speed.
The number of men pole dancing continues to grow every year. There are men’s divisions in competitions now, and I usually have at least one man in all the classes I take or teach. Men’s natural inclination toward upper body strength makes them ideal candidates for the sport. There are many ancient forms of pole dancing such as Chinese pole and Mallakhamb, which have been performed throughout history and almost exclusively by men.
This is another staple move for beginners to have in their repertoire. It’s also a good way to start building up your pain threshold, as this move hurts – quite a lot! You can introduce yourself to thigh-grip fairly quickly and in a controlled way, by sitting on the pole but still holding on with your hands, then you can slowly remove your hands as you build up grip strength.
This is quite possibly the most irritating argument I hear against wanting to try pole dancing. There will always be hundreds of reasons not to try. Maybe you aren’t at your ideal weight, or you have two left feet, or you think you're too old. Why not stop creating roadblocks? You'll build skills as you grow and learn. That is part of what's so inspiring and empowering about it.
Always use a crash mat designed for pole dancing as they can protect you from some nasty falls and injuries. As you’ll be learning pole dancing at home, and not in a studio, it’s important that you take these extra precautions as there will be no one to blame but yourself if the unthinkable happens. Read our safety guide for pole dancing at home (opens in a new tab).
Obviously, learning pole dancing online has a lack of real-time instruction and advice. You may not realize that your technique may be completely wrong, but there’s no one there to correct you. Repeatedly performing a move incorrectly can also lead to injuries and muscle strain over time, so try to seek advice from a professional instructor where ever possible and don’t attempt anything that doesn’t feel right.